Collagen supplements may boost nail growth and appearance: Human data

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/PanNguyen
© iStock/PanNguyen
Daily supplementation with collagen peptides may boost the growth of fingernails by 12%, and reduce the frequency of broken nails by 42%, says a new study using Gelita’s Verisol ingredient.

The 24 week open-label, single-center trial with 25 healthy women found that 2.5 grams per day of Verisol were also associated with significant clinical improvements in brittle nails. The findings were published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology​.

“The ingestion of specific [bioactive collagen peptides] led to a pronounced global clinical improvement in brittle nails, a significant increase in nail growth rate, and a decrease in the frequency of cracked or chipped nails in the present trial,” ​wrote researchers from the Brazilian Center for Studies in Dermatology, the University of São Paulo, and the Collagen Research Institute (CRI) in Germany.

“Further research with larger samples and prolonged treatment is needed to explore the mechanism of action that leads brittle nails improvements, and larger, placebo-controlled studies are required to confirm the observed results.”


Euromonitor International estimated the value of beauty supplements to be $2.9 billion in 2015, with the US market valued at $76 million. The category is reportedly growing at greater than 10% in the US, albeit from a small base.

Nutricosmetics or beauty-from-within has seen many false dawns over the years, but earlier this year NutraIngredients-USA picked the category as one of the stand-out trends from the Expo West show in Anaheim​, with supplements containing collagen and promoting benefits for hair, skin and nails more visible on the show floor than ever before (according to our correspondent’s memory).

The challenge with the sector is that seeing is believing for consumers: Speaking during the NutraIngredients-USA Anti-Aging Forum last year, Barry Ritz, PhD, VP of scientific and regulatory affairs at Atrium Innovations, explained: “Unlike many of our supplement products where we’re working towards wellness goals and assuming a lifelong outcome, a beauty protocol should produce tangible results in a reasonable period of time. That’s one of the great opportunities in this category.”

Gelita has been working with the Collagen Research Institute for several years to build the science to support the efficacy of its Verisol ingredient for different visible health benefits. A 2013 study reported statistically significant improvements in skin elasticity​,​ while a subsequent clinical study in 2014​ demonstrated significant reductions in wrinkles and increased dermal collagen synthesis.

Study details

For the new study, the researchers  assigned 25 women to consumer 2.5 grams per day of the bioactive collagen peptides (Verisol) for 24 weeks. The women were followed for an addition four weeks when they didn’t consume the supplements.

“To the best of our knowledge, no data have been reported regarding the effects of [bioactive collagen peptides] intake on nails, and the present study is the first clinical trial demonstrating the efficacy of a specific dosage (2.5 g/d) of Verisol on nail growth and brittle nails syndrome,” ​they explained.

Results showed that almost 90% of the women reported improvement four weeks post-treatment. Eight percent of the women also said that the collagen supplements improved their nails' appearance, and that were completely satisfied with the performance of the supplements.

“When administered orally, [bioactive collagen peptides] are absorbed in the form of small collagen peptides and free amino acids,” ​wrote the researchers. “Free amino acids provide building blocks for the formation of dermal extracellular matrix proteins and for the epidermal structure, whereas collagen peptides act as bioactive messengers, activating different signaling pathways and stimulating dermal and epidermal metabolism.

“Hence, clinical improvements in brittle nails symptoms observed in the present study may not only be a consequence of the protein intake, but also due to the stimulatory effects of specific collagen peptides on epidermal and dermal metabolism.”

"Even more scientific support for Verisol's ability to positively impact skin AND nail health"

The study's findings were welcomed by Lara Niemann, marketing director - Americas for Gelita, who told NutraIngredients-USA: "Verisol Bioactive Collagen Peptides - in a series of recent skin health studies - have shown that when ingested orally, they stimulate fibroblast cells in the dermal layer of the skin to increase overall extracellular matrix formation. By doing so, they influence the skin’s collagen metabolism from inside, resulting in fewer wrinkles, improved skin elasticity and even a reduction in cellulite. Now, with this most recent study on nail heath, we see positive effects of Verisol supplementation on the nail matrix and nail bed. This new evidence offers even more scientific support for Verisol's ability to positively impact skin AND nail health - opening new opportunities in the health & nutrition space."

Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology
2017, published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/jocd.12393
“Oral supplementation with specific bioactive collagen peptides improves nail growth and reduces symptoms of brittle nails.”
Authors: D. Hexsel et al. 

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